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China to promote smartphone breath monitoring for asthma children

Updated: Feb 20,2017 9:13 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — A Chinese health alliance on Feb 19 agreed to promote the use of peak flow charts on both physical paper and smartphone apps to monitor breath for children suffering from asthma.

The alliance is joined by the State Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Diseases, Beijing Children’s Hospital, and Chinese Pediatric Society under Chinese Medical Association.

Professor Shen Kunling, head of the State Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Diseases, said parents’ knowledge, compliance with medicine instructions, and regular monitoring remain key to control childhood asthma.

Asthma is one of the most common chronic respiratory diseases for children. China has more than 6 million children with asthma. Nearly 30 percent of them do not seek treatment in time and more than two thirds have reported asthma attacks.

Some patients have benefited from regular peak expiratory flow (PEF) monitoring but find the process a hassle — they need to breath into a device, take the reading, and put it down on a paper chart all the time.

Shen recommended using newly-developed smartphone apps that only require a patient to breathe into an accessory connected to the phone. It automatically records the reading and produces a chart. Better still, the results can be shared via a smartphone with the family and your doctor, she said.

According to the peak flow reading, a three color zone action plan will guide patients and their family on what to respond, Shen said. The color green means it is good; yellow signals interventions needed, while red, which indicates danger, is to be avoided.

The three color zone system has been adopted by many developed countries.

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